Snowshoer found alive in Mount Rainier park
Monday, January 16, 2012
SEATTLE (AP) — A 66-year-old snowshoer who was missing on Mount Rainier since Saturday was found alive Monday afternoon by a team of three rescuers, a national park spokeswoman said.
Yong Chun Kim, of Tacoma, Wash., was alert and conscious, and was cold but otherwise in stable condition, park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said. Rescuers were working to bring in a Sno-Cat snow vehicle to carry him out because weather conditions prevented a helicopter from landing in the area, she said.
“As soon as we heard he was alive, my sister, his wife, praised God and said ‘Hallelujah’,” Kim’s sister-in-law, Sang Soon Tomyn told The Associated Press after learning from relatives that Kim had been found. “We were so worried. We prayed every day.”
She said her brother-in-law was a strong hiker, had food in his backpack and knew the area very well, so they prayed he would be all right.
“He’s a very strong person,” she said.
Kim was leading a group on a snowshoe hike on the mountain when he slid down a slope and became separated from his party. He radioed to the group twice to say he was OK. But when he failed to meet up with them in the parking lot, a search was launched Saturday afternoon.
Teams of park rangers, search dogs and volunteers had been combing a snowy area of Mount Rainier for the third straight day on Monday. Rescuers found him in the upper Stevens Creek basin, Taylor said. Weather conditions prevented a helicopter from joining the search.
Kim, who has been snowshoeing for a decade, was well equipped for a day of snowshoeing but did not have overnight gear.
Temperatures dropped into the teens and eight inches of new snow fell in some areas since Saturday, with more snow forecasted in coming days.
With winds whipping on the mountain, some areas saw as much as 30 inches of snow.